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N.J. couple runs Lakota Wolf Preserve

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 05:10:16 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 06:32:31 PM CST

Working in the extreme cold has been the routine for the past month, but for a New Jersey couple the cold comes with the call of the wild.

COLUMBIA, N.J. -

Working in the extreme cold has been the routine for the past month, but for a New Jersey couple the cold comes with the call of the wild.

With howling heard in the distance, a snow covered path between two eight foot high fences is Jim Stein's cold daily trek through the office halls. Instead of other employee's stuck in cubicles, 18 wolves pace back and forth.

It's 7 a.m. and 20 degrees but for Stein it feels like a heat wave.

"Maybe a week ago, we had 20 below zero with windchill up here on the mountain," he said.

For 15 years, Jim and his girlfriend, Becky Mace, have run the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Warren County New Jersey.

"Our main goal was to give a handful of wolves already born in captivity a good place to live their lives, and hopefully educate people about wolves," Stein said in between licks from two of his Timber wolves.

Located in the Kittatinny Mountains, the preserve is set far back from the road and is void of any electricity.

"Alright guys let me in to do your water," Stein says inside a two acre pen.

So, the daily grind is a constant face to face meeting with Mother Nature. Duties include chopping ice, trucking in fluids, refilling water tubs, and butchering fresh road kill.

"It's pretty brutal out in it every day. You get used to it. Just dress appropriately. If real bad I have a face mask," he said.

"I love the animal, it's special to me. It's such a strong intelligent animal that is misrepresented," Stein went on to say.

Giving public tours and caring for the current eighteen wolves, three bobcats and two foxes leaves time for little else.

The couple hasn't vacationed together in 15 years.

When we come up here it's quiet, the wolves spend time with you, loving you, it's well worth it," Mace stated.

It all makes for a wild work environment.